Wildcats pitcher wins state recognition

For her role in the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart softball team’s highly successful 2021 season, pitcher Abby Moravek recently joined a very select group of players. The junior from Libertyville was one of the pitchers named to the 24-member 2021 Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A All-State Softball Second Team.

This distinction comes on the heels of Moravek being named the nine-team Independent School League’s (ISL) 2021 Softball Player of the Year for the second consecutive time. When she first won the award, in 2019, her achievements included pitching a perfect game in the Wildcats’ IHSA Class 1A Girls Softball Regional semi-final game, her second no-hitter that year.

The 2021 Wildcats team got off to an impressive start, winning their first 11 games  en route to the ISL championship. The Wildcats’ winning streak included non-conference victories over Lake Forest, Highland Park and Round Lake high schools. They finished the season with a record of 12-3.  Moravek (11-3) pitched all but one of those games. Woodlands Academy was undefeated in the ISL. Its three losses were to Regina, Grayslake Central and, finally, to Earlville in the IHSA Girls Softball 1A regionals. 

Moravek’s ERA for the season was 1.09. She struck out 169 for an average of 12 per game or 2.3 per innings pitched. And her impressive stats are not limited to the mound. At the plate, Moravek was the Wildcats’ top batter this season with a .500 average and an on-base percentage of .583. In addition, she had 22 RBIs and four home runs – one of which was a grand slam.

“Abby’s ability to focus was crucial to our success this year,” coach Rosemary Briesch said. “She is also extremely supportive to her teammates making her as important to the team as a leader as she is as an athlete.” For example, Briesch recalls the comments of an umpire after a game in which freshman pitcher Abby Hironimus took to the mound. The umpire truly was impressed with how Moravek continually talked to the freshman as the team came off the field each inning, congratulating her and giving her tips.

Moravek’s current achievements are the result, at least in part, of an early motivation.  She was told by one of her first softball coaches that she could not pitch. From that moment on, Moravek set her sights on proving him wrong.